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Addressing the Challenge of Performance Reviews

The performance review is dreaded by nearly everyone in the organization for many reasons:

  • It can be an onerous process
  • It’s only done once a year
  • We only include in the review what is fresh in our memories
  • We really don’t know how to handle those difficult conversations with employees who may not be performing effectively

So – what happens?

  • We gloss over the performance review
  • We delay completing it and sometimes it never get it done
  • We don’t provide any useful information (examples)
  • We ask employees to evaluate themselves and then use what they wrote in our review (yes…this has been done to me!)

Here are some ways to make performance reviews more impactful for your employees, less stressful for you and of value to the organization overall:

  • In collaboration with your staff members, set quarterly goals for staff to achieve.
  • Determine training needs, technology needs, mentors – whatever your employees need to achieve those goals. Help remove barriers to them achieving those goals.
  • Provide your staff with regular feedback on their performance towards those goals – both positive and constructive.
    • Consider setting aside time during one-on-one sessions to discuss performance with employees.
  • Meet with staff to evaluate performance after work on special projects has been completed.
  • Find opportunities for staff to continue to develop skills and grow professionally.

Document all of this information and, at the annual performance review, incorporate everything you have documented into the performance review – highlighting those areas where performance has improved and noting those areas where work is still needed to improve performance. Include examples. This should be easy to do since you were capturing data regularly throughout the year. No surprises for the employee and you have already done much of the work of the performance review throughout the year.